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  • News

    Cave art suggests Neandertals were ancient humans’ mental equals

    Neandertals drew on cave walls and made personal ornaments long before encountering Homo sapiens, two new studies find. These discoveries paint bulky, jut-jawed Neandertals as the mental equals of ancient humans, scientists say.

    Rock art depicting abstract shapes and hand stencils in three Spanish caves dates back to at least 64,800 years ago, researchers report in the Feb. 23 Science....

    02/22/2018 - 14:12 Archaeology, Human Evolution
  • Editor's Note

    Building a bright future for science journalism

    As a longtime reader of Science News, I’m delighted to join the staff of this remarkable publication, which has been explaining the complexities of science, medicine and technology for more than 90 years. Science News hasn’t been standing still; people can find our breaking news and in-depth coverage in the flagship magazine as well as on the Science News website, which drew more than...
    02/22/2018 - 10:46 Science & Society
  • 50 years ago, early organ transplants brought triumph and tragedy

    Kidneys lead the field

    While the drama of human heart transplants has grasped the public interest, kidney transplants are ahead in the field…. Although only three little girls are now surviving liver transplants, the liver is a promising field for replacement…. The donor, of course, must be dead; no one can live without his liver. — Science News, March 2, 1968

    Update

    Kidney...

    02/22/2018 - 07:00 Health
  • Feature

    New fossils are redefining what makes a dinosaur

    “There’s a very faint dimple here,” Sterling Nesbitt says, holding up a palm-sized fossil to the light. The fossil, a pelvic bone, belonged to a creature called Teleocrater rhadinus. The slender, 2-meter-long reptile ran on all fours and lived 245 million years ago, about 10 million to 15 million years before scientists think dinosaurs first appeared.

    Nesbitt, a paleontologist at...

    02/21/2018 - 16:00 Paleontology, Evolution
  • Feature

    How to build a human brain

    In a white lab coat and blue latex gloves, Neda Vishlaghi peers through a light microscope at six milky-white blobs. Each is about the size of a couscous grain, bathed in the pale orange broth of a petri dish. With tweezers in one hand and surgical scissors in the other, she deftly snips one tiny clump in half.

    When growing human brains, sometimes you need to do some pruning.

    The...

    02/20/2018 - 15:30 Human Development
  • It's Alive

    The flowers that give us chocolate are ridiculously hard to pollinate

    It’s a wonder we have chocolate at all. Talk about persnickety, difficult flowers.

    Arguably some of the most important seeds on the planet — they give us candy bars and hot cocoa, after all — come from pods created by dime-sized flowers on cacao trees. Yet those flowers make pollination just barely possible.

    Growers of commercial fruit crops expect 50 to 60 percent of flowers to...

    02/20/2018 - 07:00 Plants, Animals, Agriculture
  • Exhibit

    Modern tech unravels mysteries of Egyptian mummy portraits

    Everybody’s a critic. Even back in second century Egypt.

    While digging in Tebtunis in northern Egypt in the winter of 1899–1900, British archaeologists stumbled upon portraits of affluent Greco-Egyptians placed over the faces of mummies. One grave contained an ink and chalk sketch, a bit larger than a standard sheet of printer paper, of a woman from around the years A.D. 140 to 160. The...

    02/19/2018 - 08:00 Archaeology, Technology, Science & Society
  • News

    Americans would welcome alien life rather than fear it

    AUSTIN, Texas — If alien microbes crash-land on Earth, they may get a warm welcome.

    When people were asked how they would react to the discovery of extraterrestrial microbial life, they give generally positive responses, researchers reported at a news conference February 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    This suggests that if...

    02/16/2018 - 17:00 Astrobiology, Microbiology, Science & Society
  • News

    Ants practice combat triage and nurse their injured

    View the video

    No wounded left behind — not quite. Ants that have evolved battlefield medevac carry only the moderately wounded home to the nest. There, those lucky injured fighters get fast and effective wound care.

    Insect colonies seething with workers may seem unlikely to stage elaborate rescues of individual fighters. Yet for Matabele ants (Megaponera analis) in sub-Saharan...

    02/16/2018 - 14:14 Animals, Evolution, Ecology
  • How To

    James Webb Space Telescope challenges artists to see in infrared

    With an astronomer’s toolkit and an artist’s eye, Zoltan Levay has transformed raw data from the Hubble Space Telescope into stunning space vistas for almost a quarter century (SN: 4/18/15, p. 4). He’s now preparing for a new challenge: Working with light not visible to human eyes.

    Levay’s next charge is the James Webb Space Telescope, set to launch in 2019. Unlike Hubble, which mostly...

    02/16/2018 - 12:58 Astronomy